Thread: What opera have you been watching lately?

          
   
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  1. #2176
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    It's odd that Naxos releases these North German Radio productions without English subtitles. If they're trying to cut costs, it may be counterproductive if the absence of those titles makes some people choose not to purchase the recording.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    It's odd that Naxos releases these North German Radio productions without English subtitles. If they're trying to cut costs, it may be counterproductive if the absence of those titles makes some people choose not to purchase the recording.
    It would make more sense if the region code were 2, but from what I can see on the Amazon listing image of the back side, it is Region 0.

    My copy arrived today (the one I watched was You Tube). It is indeed Region 0, and German or Italian subs. Funny, Handbrake, which I use to rip the video to M4V file offers subtitle selections of Italian or English but if you select English you get German. Worse, the book does not have the notes and synopsis in English. I know the synopsis but the notes would be nice to read.

    I have never cared for the Gypsy dance scenes and routinely skip them and delete them from my MP3 player, but in this case the Gypsy dance was pretty good. Ha, they didn't dance for one, and they were not dressed like Gypsys either. Nothing against Gypsys with me because I love Beppe the Gypsy in L'amico Fritz.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished this one. Quite good. Kaufmann's singing is, as always, wonderful. Terfel makes for a very loathsome, lecherous Scarpia. Gheorghiu is very good too. Not sure how Jonas managed it but when he was shot (about half a dozen marksmen at close range) his body actually jerked back very realistically before he collapsed to the ground. But there was no blood in the stabbing of Scarpia, not even on Tosca's nice white dress and she ran the knife into him twice with him collapsed upon her before her rolled off and staggered to the floor. But that is a minor complaint. It is a wonderful performance!
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  7. #2179
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    ROH is reviving the Richard Eyre La traviata again, much to the annoyance of some of the regulars who would like a few more rarities but, hey, ROH is a commercial organisation and if war horses puts bums on seats then war horses are shown.

    Actually, I've never seen La traviata and Simon Keenlyside is singing Germont so I'm taking the opportunity to go. Watching this for homework.

    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  9. #2180
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Ranking what I watched in May:

    #1 - Benjamin – Lessons in Love and Violence – arte.tv, ROH

    I didn’t really believe the critical drubbing that came out of the Salzburg premiere, but for some reason I still didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as Written on Skin. I guess I just assumed that Benjamin and librettist Martin Crimp would get over-ambitious after such a big success. But this is another firecracker of an opera! Probably will never be as iconic as Skin, but it's well-paced and full of great scenes and music.

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    #2 - Bellini – I Capuleti e i Montecchi – DVD, Zürich

    The surprise of the month. I'm not a big fan of Bellini (yet?); I adore his gift for melody, but tend to get bored due to the pacing of the convention-laden librettos. But Christof Loy has created something remarkable here, using a revolving stage to change scenes often, and suggesting a new backstory with younger actresses recreating Juliet's past trauma between scenes. It becomes a very well-paced, modern drama! I really enjoyed this take on the pre-Shakespeare version of Romeo & Juliet.

    #3 - Bartok – Bluebeard’s Castle – Live, Houston Symphony

    I love this opera, so I'm sad to say this was a slight let-down. The singing was good, and the projections were fine. It just seemed to drag a bit, mostly in the 2nd half, and the orchestra never got particularly heated at the climaxes. The HSO’s young music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada is quite good, but doesn't have much opera experience yet, so I think that could have been to blame.

    #4 - Paderewski – Manru – OperaVision, Opera Narodowa

    Really enjoyable score full of Polish dances. Pretty good staging, too. I think this opera was supposed to make a statement against anti-Gypsy prejudices, but by modern standards it comes up short by reaffirming some of the stereotypes at the end. So I don't really see this as an opera that has any chance to be widely revived. Really grateful for this livestream.

    #5 - Ponchielli – La Gioconda – OperaVision, La Monnaie

    I should also be grateful for this one, but... look, I'm usually a fan of Olivier Py's style. His Flying Dutchman and Carmelites are both INCREDIBLE. I don't know what happened here. But I don’t think this staging was any good at all. A lot of ugly clowns, and some splashing around in water, and some fire... I can't even tell if I like this opera. I was too busy being alternately bored, confused, and annoyed.

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  11. #2181
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Watching this on YouTube. No subs but the singing is rather good.

    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  13. #2182
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    If this is the production with Eva Maria Westbroek and JK in the leads, I have the video and enjoy it very much.

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    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    If this is the production with Eva Maria Westbroek and JK in the leads, I have the video and enjoy it very much.
    Yup. That's the one. Seeing it tomorrow, with a different cast though.

    https://www.roh.org.uk/events/qbv35
    "Every theatre is an insane asylum, but an opera theatre is the ward for the incurables."

    FRANZ SCHALK, attributed, Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas

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  17. #2184
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    What an awesome video! Great acting and great scenery. Was a nice touch to show the daugher whom Violetta was sacrificing for. Best of all was to see and hear a young Placido Domingo.

    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  19. #2185
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    If this is the production with Eva Maria Westbroek and JK in the leads, I have the video and enjoy it very much.
    Same here.

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  21. #2186
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Just finished this one and like it quite a lot. It won't replace my go-to Freischutz video but this one is very well done, nice staging, Wolf's Glen scene is quite intense.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  23. #2187
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    I was not that excited with this one. Frankly, her looks don't match for Violetta (IMO). Anyway, as it turns out Act 3 is awesome, so I am glad I watched it. Singing is great too.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  25. #2188
    Senior Member Involved Member Nemorino's Avatar
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    Ranking what I watched in June:

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    #1 - Birtwistle - The Minotaur - Blu-ray, ROH

    I've had this unwatched on my shelf for 2-3 years! What was I thinking?! This is exactly the kind of hot-blooded opera that keeps me excited for more! Maybe it starts a little slow at first, but once the Minotaur appears I love everything about this show. The simple sets brought to life with clever lighting, the minotaur costume and the way he is portrayed (only singing during internal monologues), the chorus which shouts and shrieks during big moments, the raven women who rip people's hearts out, hehehe. So much fun. This is the kind of show that will get us youngsters raised on Game of Thrones off our couches.

    #2 - Gilbert & Sullivan - Iolanthe - Live, Austin Gilbert & Sullivan Society

    My town has a small company that puts on 1 G&S show every June. Some of the singers are of classical training, and some are just G&S enthusiasts, so the singing's a mixed bag, but the comedic performances are often very, very good. The kind that can transport you, and remind any skeptic why this brand of entertainment was once so popular. While the story was not my favorite of the four I've seen so far, Iolanthe makes up for it with an extra helping of memorable music. There are some great ensemble scenes, and a neat fairy chorus, and Austin G&S obliged with some of their best singing in years.

    #3 - Montemezzi/Leoncavallo - L'incantesimo/Pagliacci (double bill) - arte.tv, Latvian Nat'l Opera

    L'incantesimo is a rarity, a 40-minute verismo-era medieval parable. At first, I was groaning at the way the main character treated his wife, but that turned out to be the target of the opera. It suprised me, and turned into a pretty good indictment of toxic masculinity (for its time). Not super-memorable musically, but deliciously orchestrated, so it was a worthy taster for its double-bill pairing. The director, Aik Karapetian, smartly staged the unknown opera in a fairly basic way, saving his more out-of-the-box ideas for Pagliacci. In the prologue, he deftly introduces us to Canio, Nedda & Sylvio and makes them feel fully characterized before the story even begins. I already knew Karapetian from his movies (Latvia's leading director of horror/thrillers! (okay, so he's the only one I know of, but I'm not his only fan in Austin)), and I was excited to see him staging opera well.

    #4 - Gluck - Alceste - staatsoper.tv, Bayerische Staatsoper

    This performance was just okay. This was only my 2nd Gluck opera (I'll be actively correcting that over the next year or two) and this wasn't the ideal production to capture my heart. I like Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's choreography generally, but he focused on that and mostly left the singers alone. I enjoyed the music, but I can't remember anything about the show.

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  27. #2189
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    mis-post. See ya later.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  28. #2190
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    This was my 13th Barber of Seville on DVD and I really enjoyed it. Never mind that Joyce is in a wheelchair. Her singing is wonderful. The acting is great. The whole production is very good. Gets a great review on Arkivmusic website.

    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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